April 22 – 2i’s Coffee, Who ‘Tommy’, Cowsill first

1956

Opening of The 2i’s Coffee Bar, 59 Old Compton, Soho, London. (*)

Run by two Australian ex-wrestlers, until 1970 it’s got a live music venue in the basement in which many skiffle and rock stars of the era are discovered … names like Tommy Steele, The Vipers Skiffle Group, Cliff Richard, Screaming Lord Sutch, Tony Sheridan, Johnny Kidd, Gary Glitter.

It closes in 1967. (*) ▷Moretti’s memories▹ ▷Sixties Britain blog▹

1969
 PINBALL WIZARD 

The first complete (though unannounced) performance of The Who‘s rock opera Tommy happens at a concert in Dolton, England. (*) Pinball Wizard 

Released May 23, 1969, the band’s fourth album rises to US#4, UK#2. In 2003 Rolling Stone counts it the 96th greatest album of all time. It becomes a film with a star-studded cast in 1975.

Performance (62m)  ▷SF:about Pinball Wizard▹  ( Website

In 1971, the Seattle Opera under director Richard Pearlman produces the first ever fully staged professional production of Tommy, including Bette Midler playing the role of The Acid Queen.

The climax of Tommy was said by many to be the highlight of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. As Roger Daltrey began to sing ‘See Me, Feel Me’, the sun began to rise, as if on cue.”

[Thanks Max, wherever you are.]

1969

Cowsills

Little 9-year-old Susan Cowsill is the youngest rock performer to (perform in) a US top-10 hit song.

The Cowsills cover of the lead song from the musical ‘Hair’ goes to US#2.

(A close runner-up, Michael Jackson, was 11 when I Want You Back was released in 1969.)